Traveling does not always involve flying. The fastest way to travel is by air, this is why people associate traveling and vacationing with riding an airplane and going up in the air thousands of miles from the ground. But there is another way to travel, and this travel method is also the vacation itself. It’s a twofer. Here one will not feel cramped, out of leg space or elbow room. These are fleets of ships, big ones and smaller ones, and those amazing luxury ones that have everything a vacationing person ever needs.

Going on a cruise may not be as popular as flying, and that could be because of the time involved in taking a cruise. But also, there are as many people afraid of the open sea as there are people afraid of flying. If we are thinking of going on a cruise, we want to make sure we are absolutely safe, the thought of what happened to Jack and Rose will forever be fresh in our minds (thanks a lot, James Cameron). We also want to make sure we get our money’s worth in terms of what we want to experience on a particular cruise. Here are 10 best cruises for every kind of vacationing person, and 10 of the worst for the things we want to avoid experiencing on our first cruise.

20 Not The Best: The Regatta

Being at sea is more dangerous than being anywhere else. Having a vacation at sea can be fun, but there is always an element of danger to it. No matter how fancy the ship is, it is still floating on the waters, same as the decades-old rickety fishing boat our cruise passed by moments ago. There are regular inspections made by quality inspection services and government agencies to ensure the safety of the cruise company’s guests are upheld and maintained. One such cruise was hit with a red mark, the Regatta of Oceania Cruises was slapped for an issue as simple as an espresso machine. If they do not set to standard a simple coffee machine, who knows what other machines they take for granted. Better to steer clear from this one.

19 Not The Best: MSC Cruises

Budget-friendly cruises are bad news for first-time cruisers. We urge you to avoid such cruises like the MSC. A ship that tours Europe for a bargain, kids below 11 years are free and those between 11 and 17 have a discount. Firstly, overcrowding is an issue, one can’t expect otherwise with the nice discount and all. Secondly, the facilities, cabins, toilet situation, and power failure are a cause for concern. Thirdly, how would one expect great customer service when the ratio of service crew to guest does not inspire the employee to put their radiant smile on round the clock. And finally, the food quality is what one would expect, or lesser, from a budget cruise.

18 Not The Best: Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruises could be a lot of fun if you enjoy the crowd in a floating steel contraption in the middle of the sea. Sanitation and water issues have been its problem since 2010. Throngs of people every time they set sail is also concerning for a first-time cruiser. How can so many people get a cruise like this on the same day I am doing it? Follow that up with complaints of small cabins and unflattering food. Carnival is so popular it could be on the flipside of this article, but the issues are too glaring that it ended up here instead.

17 Not The Best: American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines is a company with a fleet of 7 cruise ships. These are not those big cruise ships, for they travel through rivers in America. They do not have issues of sanitation or violations. Nor do they have problems with their friendly and accommodating staff. The food is great and the facilities are, too. They do not overcrowd their ships, that’s a relief. The issue with American Cruise Lines is that they charge a big amount for a “meh” experience. Seasoned cruisers will tell you that these cruises are so overpriced, you can get one for the same price for double the amount of time, meaning more places to see and visit, and more experiences and different countries in store for the same, if not lower, admission.

16 Not The Best: The Pacific Venus

We do not just warn first-timers against too budget-friendly cruises but losing the quality of experience in their first sail. We also give some points on overpriced but under-delivered quality cruises. Another big concern is the safety of the ship. The Pacific Venus, owned by Japan Cruise Lines, is one of the worst-rated ships with violations list so long it could be the longest in recent history. It is never a good idea to pay for a cruise and put your life in their hands on weeks-long cruises when they couldn’t even abide the simplest rules and regulations set by the governing body that ensures quality and safety in all cruise lines.

15 Not The Best: Avalon Waterways

The Avalon Waterways is a big company. It is a cruise line with 25 ships operating in the European waters and rivers. Cruises explore Asia, the Galapagos Islands, and South America, it’s one of the most famous European cruises today. The problem is that it is not one of the best, it is popular, but not the best. If you want your vacation to be at your own pace at your own time, with your own itinerary, this cruise would be like a prison to you. It could be good for some people, but not a good experience for first-time explorers.

14 Not The Best: Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises are not from Costa Rica, it’s an Italian cruise line as old as the 19th century. It has become a popular cruise for European budget-cruisers, families, and party-mongers. As an American looking to have their first cruise experience and finding the destinations of Costa Cruises to your liking, we suggest to look further and find another one. The Costa Cruise is not for the first-time American, you either choke on second-hand smoke at the abundance of smoking areas in the ship or get yourself homesick with the flurry of languages you hear on either ear. Customer service reviews are also not satisfactory.

13 Not The Best: Royal Caribbean

The Royal Caribbean is like the Carnival Cruises, they are popular enough to be considered on the good side of this article, but there are just some things that we do not want you to experience on your first cruise. We’d want you to go on a cruise again, so if you can help it, make this your third or fourth cruise. They have good food, good service, and nice entertainment. They were rated a 4 out of 5 by most guests, for the same reasons stated already. But the negatives were also kind of the same reasons as well, some found the entertainment repetitive and the restaurant could get very crowded at times.

12 Not The Best: Norwegian Cruise Line

This is the alpha dog of Carnival Cruises and the Royal Caribbean. The Norwegian Cruise Line is a popular choice by many cruisers. They would even recommend it to a first-timer like you. It boasts of good price and good destinations. But the problem is the ones they never mention. Small cabins, too many smoking areas, pricey specialty restaurants but not such great food. The destinations range from the Bahamas, Alaska, Europe, and the Caribbean. It’s a good cruise, but not good enough to be a first for a first-time cruiser. Remember, we want you to have that wow factor, those first impressions last feeling that would surely make you want to try another cruise in the near future.

11 Not The Best: Viking River Cruises

Viking is on the first part of this list but that is Viking Ocean Cruises, the big brother. It’s little brother, Viking River Cruises is not doing as well as his big bro. Customer ratings are the main reason Viking River Cruises is on this list. It’s a massive company with 63 vessels, but customers who’ve been on their cruise do not get off happy. From set itineraries to small cabins, from expensive rates to unsatisfactory overall experience. It’s a good next cruise option, but not a first one to take. Go and book any of the 10 on the above list, then think about the others here, except for the red-flagged ones.

10 Best: Lindblad Expeditions

If we are people on the go, always want to go somewhere interesting and seek out adventures on our off-days, the Lindblad cruise is just the thing for us. One may feel stagnant waiting in a ship as it sails along the ocean, but the wait is worth it. This cruise travels to exotic locations like the Galapagos, the Amazon, and even the north and south poles, the Arctic and Antarctica. An encounter made easy with ready-to-use equipment for kayaking, snorkeling, and deep sea diving. Together with those, one can also get assistance from expert naturalists and photographers familiar with the area like its the back of their hand.

9 Best: Viking Ocean Cruises

Norway, that country up in Europe, can also be visited via cruise. This cruise is presented by Viking Ocean Cruises. This is just one of the many destinations and cruises offered by Viking Ocean Cruises. They also have Viking Herja, whose navigation is best for first-time cruisers who have seasickness. It literally is a floating hotel and one will never feel seasick because they’d never think they were in a ship. Another great cruise for first-timers (like the Viking Herja) is the Viking River Cruises. Every day on the cruise is a different city to visit, we almost spend as much time at the port as we do on the water.

8 Best: Disney Cruise Line

From the name itself, this kind of cruise offers superb entertainment for the whole family. Cruising with the kids and the whole family? Disney Cruise Lines is the best first-time cruise experience for you. Ideal for children, not so much for teenagers, especially those who grew out of their tiaras and princess and superhero ideals. A ship complete with a nursery for toddlers, popular Disney characters on board like Cinderella, and of course, Mickey Mouse! Playpens and areas for children with Star Wars and Marvel theme, great for the young at heart, too! We might have a good time on this cruise, but most assuredly your children will have a blast.

7 Best: P&O Arcadia

Now that we know what kind of cruise to get when we have children and little kids with us, it’s time for the adult cruise. This kind of cruise is specifically designed for adults, retirees per se. This is not a 10-day cruise to take on one of your vacations. This is around the world experience on the P&O Arcadia. This ship and this cruise will really take you to every corner of the world. If you are freshly retired and are looking for a nice way to spend the first few weeks of your earned retirement in a place with no belligerent, distracting, and noisy minors, the P&O Arcadia is the cruise for you.

6 Best: Silversea Cruises

If we are waiting to have one of those elite cruise experiences, then Silversea Cruises is the best way to experience that kind of cruise for the first time. A cruise that does not condone overcrowding their guests, they will set sail even with just 100 passengers in their 600 ideal capacity (not yet max cap) ships. It is that cruise for the mature person wanting to get away and turn off reality for a minute, just to soak in the life they had so far. Be happy and thankful for everything they accomplished, all the while looking east or west for new places that would delight their heart and mind.

5 Best: Anthem of the Seas

If there are cruises for the middle-aged seafarers, there are also cruises for teenagers. This younger demographic is always the hardest to please, not just in terms of travel, but with any form of entertainment, I guess. But Anthem of the Seas may have found the solution to this problem. This is not an exclusive cruise for teenagers, the young at heart are welcome as well. If you want to have a vacation with your family, but want your teenage daughter or son to really enjoy it, then this cruise is for you. Or if you want to send your son or daughter off to celebrate their birthday with their close friends, then you can send them off on an Anthem of the Seas cruise. Activities and facilities on board are designed for these audiences.

4 Best: Oceania Cruises

Some people are afraid to forget their dietary habits onboard a cruise, so those folks should avoid this cruise. Oceania Cruises caters to the foodies, as this is a gastronomical voyage hosted by Jacques Pepin, yes, that famous French chef. Why are they always French, we wonder. It has special venue restaurants, poolside grill eating experiences and exquisite onboard dining. Cuisines range from Asian to Italian, to of course French. Want to eat and learn as well, take classes in the ship’s culinary center while enjoying the cruise, maybe get a chance to learn a trick or two from the French expert while you’re at it.

3 Best: Royal Princess

Designed for the newlywed couple, this cruise is so aptly named as it celebrates the bride and her one true happiest moment in life, her wedding day. This is post-wedding, where everything went as planned, and all the pressure is gone and all they need to do now is enjoy and consummate the union. The Royal Princess is the perfect venue for honeymooning couples, it’s been designed like a gift registry as well. Friends and family of the couple can send gifts via honeymoon packages offered by the cruise for the benefit of the couple onboard. From spas to special drinks, to other exclusive packages.

2 Best: Holland America Line

Cruises are diversified based on their clientele’s need for adventure, comfort, taste buds, and age. We’ve known about cruises for the kids, the teenagers, and for new couples. This next cruise is designed for the ready to mingle, the singles. Holland America Line is perfect for that solo traveler who wants to take a break flying anywhere and everywhere and just take the pedal off the metal for a bit. Activities and programs are designed to get the guests to interact with each other and establish a connection, that would hopefully spark a union that would last a lifetime. Cupid at sea is what Holland America Line is.

1 Best: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

If we want our first time at sea on a cruise to be a memorable experience, and we have the money to make that happen, look no further than Regent Seven Seas Cruises. This is luxury cruising at its finest. Think of a ship that has zero crowd atmosphere, big spaces, and very spacious cabins, all of them have verandas. Most think of the Das Boot experience when they think of cruises. This is the exact opposite of that. Big luxury ships that cater to only up to 750 passengers each cruise, this is a pampered way to cruise, in style and in total comfort.

References: CruisecriticForbesCruise1stCheatsheet